27 May 2010

Electronic book store launched by Whitcoulls

3:26 pm on 27 May 2010

Whitcoulls has launched an electronic book store and a free application that allows users to read their purchases on a range of devices and computers, including the iPad and smart phones.

E-books will cost between $10 and $15 each.

Red Group Retail, which owns Whitcoulls, says growth is being driven by the use of smart phones and new devices such as the Apple iPad, to be sold in New Zealand in July.

RGR group managing director David Fenlon says Whitcoulls is also launching its own device, the Kobo e-reader, for less than $300 - significantly cheaper than Apple's iPad or Amazon's Kindle.

Mr Fenlon anticipates the demand to be strong.

The book industry, which has faced declining global sales due to the recession and the rise of online publishing, is also pinning hopes on the takeup of e-books.

Random House New Zealand, the largest book publisher in the country, says e-books have the potential to make New Zealand authors more accessible worldwide.

However, managing director Karen Ferns says it is still too early to say whether e-books will complement or substitute paper book sales in New Zealand.